The Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, by Geraldine Brooks.
Geraldine Brooks was a war correspondent in the Middle East for years, and she spent an incredible amount of time with Islamic women in many different economic and religious situations. She details how Islam is tied into numerous governments, and she also talks about where many of the (oppressive to us) rules impressed upon women come from. It was super interesting to me to find that the basis for so many of the rules women must adhere to (not driving, the hijab, obtaining permission from their husbands before they can leave their homes) does not come from the Quran. The religious leaders in these countries have made big assumptions based on what they think the Prophet would want, which is sketchy to me. I do that all the time with Jesus, but he was crystal clear when he told people to love others as they love themselves. Anyway, it was surprising to me how little foundation there is for these rules, and how the men are taking advantage of people's faith to subjugate them.
I'm off the soap box! I also read another Geraldine Brooks book a week or so ago, this one about an ancient haggadah call The People of the Book. A haggadah (to my understanding) is the book Jewish families use during Shabbat dinner to guide them through the order and the prayers. A book preservationist is put in charge of preserving a haggadah saved from a museum in Sarajevo during the war. She finds small artifacts throughout the book-a thin white hair, a wine stain, an insect's wing, and through all of these you learn the story behind the sacred book. I really enjoyed the format of this, it was very engaging.
And last night I stayed up until 11:30 to finish the sequel to the Hunger Games, Catching Fire. When I read the first book I stayed up until midnight, so don't start this book unless you can commit to a marathon reading session! The sequel was really good, but it did get started off a bit slower than the first book. I really enjoyed it, and for a young adult novel it was well done. The last book comes out in August, I believe, and with the cliff hanger ending I will be more than ready!
I just started Karen Armstrong's new book, "The Case for God," and it looks like quite the text, so I think it's going to take me a while.
What are you reading right now? What's on your summer reading list?